Hockey Headlines

Monday, 21 December 2015

It Must Be A Prairie Thing?

I have no idea where this photo was taken, but that definitely is a zamboni on a street that is being driven in traffic. I was going to guess somewhere in central Canada or USA with the rash of impaired zamboni drivers we've seen from that section of the continent in the last year. You can understand maybe one or two, but how is it that this area of the country has five incidents in five years and two in the last six months? Not to outdo the rest of the two nations, but we'll look at a couple more incidents where alcohol and zambonis have run into the strong arm of the law as well. Here are your zamboni mishaps!

Incident #1

We'll start with the most recent incident that happened in Ste. Anne, Manitoba on Saturday. Marc Robichaud, chief of the town’s police department, said a man in his 30s was placed under arrest after a game featuring the Seine River Snipers bantam team, who were the home team, and the Southeast Blizzard. According to witness reports, the man was the zamboni driver, and he made his way onto the ice surface on the machine for the second intermission resurfacing when things went off the rails.

"On his first lap he struck the gate where the Zamboni drives onto the ice, and broke the boards and also broke pieces off the actual Zamboni," said Martin Kintscher, Seine River's manager, told the CBC. "One piece got stuck under the Zamboni, which left a ridge on the ice with every lap."

The Ste. Anne Police Department confirmed a man in his 30s had been arrested and charged with impaired driving, resisting arrest, and refusing a breathalyzer. Robichaud told the Canadian Press, "Liquor and any kind of motorized vehicle don't mix, irregardless of whether it's on the road or wherever it may be."

Incident #2

Let's go back to June where another incident happened. This time, we head south to the community of Fargo, North Dakota where "Steven James Anderson, 27, was sentenced to nine days in jail, with credit for one day served, and ordered a $1,500 fine, chemical dependency evaluation, and participation in the state’s 24/7 sobriety program" after admitting "being drunk while operating a Zamboni during a high school hockey game," according to Dave Kolpack of The Associated Press.

"He was arrested in January during the girls hockey game in Fargo after witnesses complained he was driving erratically on the ice between periods and crashing into the boards. Police say his blood-alcohol content was nearly four times the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle," Kolpack reported. According to police reports, Anderson's blood-alcohol content registered a .314 at 9:30pm. He was arrested after Fargo Davies' principal Troy Cody called police between the first and second periods after Cody witness Anderson "crash into the boards rather hard".

At least Anderson seems to have cleaned up his act after his brief jail stint. Hopefully he's found peace after this incident.

Incident #3

How about a fun story in 2013? 24 year-old Spencer Holt did something that most only dream about: he tried to steal the AHL Oklahoma City Barons' zamboni! As per The Lost Ogle who quoted KOKH Channel 25,
A man was arrested after taking a joyride on a Zamboni at the Cox Convention Center Saturday.

According to authorities, 24-year-old Spencer Holt got on a Zamboni and broke through restraining gates before driving the Zamboni on the ice.

Holt was taken into custody and charged with destruction of property and public drunkenness.
Thankfully, police say he never got the Zamboni out of the building. What is it with drunk dudes and zambonis?

Incident #4

We move to Apple Valley, Minnesota for our next story that happened in January 2012. Pat Pheifer of the Star Tribune wrote,
Spectators, hockey players and parents pressed against the ice arena's glass Monday night, watching as a Zamboni driver at the Hayes Arena in Apple Valley weaved across the ice erratically and smacked the machine hard against the boards.

About 25 minutes into what should have been a 10-minute job resurfacing the ice, the driver - a part-time employee of the city of Apple Valley - tried to maneuver the unwieldy machine into the arena garage. By then, coach Bryan Dornstreich had called 911.

Officers arrested the 34-year-old Apple Valley man for allegedly driving while intoxicated. He failed field sobriety tests and was taken to police headquarters for a blood-alcohol test. The sample was sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis. Test results were unavailable Tuesday.

The man has not been formally charged. He was convicted of drunken driving in 2002 and twice in 1999.
Court documents from March 2012 show that Joel K. Bruss, the zamboni driver above, "had a blood-alcohol content of 0.32 percent - four times the legal limit, according to court documents." Clearly, Bruss should not have been driving that night. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and here's hoping that Bruss has also found some peace after this harrowing experience for all those in attendance.

Incident #5

Calgary is right on the edge of the Canadian prairies, so I'm including this one as well. We go back to 2011 where, according to the report filed by QMI's Nadia Moharib, "two apparently drunk men allegedly committed the most Canadian of crimes — they tried to steal a Zamboni." It's the details of this crime that should be noted, though.
Ross Harris, operations manager at the East Calgary Twin Arenas, said he was working in an office at the facility alone when he noticed the Zamboni, which was parked inside, on the move.

"I happened to see the Zamboni going outside on the camera system" he said. "I really wondered what was going on."

He soon learned at least one of two men had walked into the building and broken into the garage area where the ice-grooming machine was parked.

When he got outside, the pair, one behind its wheel, were trying to push the car free of an icy stretch of pavement.

They seemed utterly unapologetic about their actions, instead asking Harris is he had a truck or tow rope to help them free their car.

At one point, the man behind the wheel of the machine stepped to the ground and it rolled backwards. Harris was forced to jump into the driver's seat just in time to steer it clear of the building.
So what did the men have in mind? Police Sgt. Kelly Oberg stated, "My understanding is they were going to use it to push a vehicle. They started it and successfully exited the building and were swiftly arrested."

The two men, in their 30s, were charged with theft of a vehicle, break-and-enter, mischief, and impaired driving. Oi vay!

Incident #6

This one has nothing to do with drunkenness, but I will say these two employees have cojones the size of Idaho. John Miller of The Seattle Times has the report from 2006.
Two employees have been fired from the city's ice skating rink after making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis.

The ice-groomer jockeys, both temporary city employees whose names and ages weren't released by Boise Parks and Recreation, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

An anonymous caller who alerted a telephone hot line set up by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was gassing up his car at a nearby service station at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10 when he saw the Zambonis roll through a Burger King drive-through, order food, and then return to the skating rink. The rubber-tired vehicles, whose top speed is about 5 mph, drove about 11/2 miles in all, said Parks Department Director Jim Hall.

"They were fired immediately," Hall said. "We're pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn't seem to be too concerned about it. I don't think they understood the seriousness of it. Even if they had felt bad about it, they're not going to be employed here."
It's kind of like that scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex rumbles by the 76 gas station. Instead of a T-Rex, though, it's two zambonis who roll up to Burger King! That's just crazy.

Clearly, there are some interesting incidents that have happened with zambonis. I'm sure there are more, so post additional stories in the comments if you like. I'm still chuckling over going to grab a Whopper on a zamboni!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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